Why Avila Teaches: Connecting with Students

English Teacher Ashley Avila leads her class.

Micaela Jones

English Teacher Ashley Avila leads her class.

Ashley  Avila is a uniquely energetic teacher with an enthusiastic attitude whenever she is teaching. 

No one is born a teacher; it all starts when that person is young and deciding what they want to do with their life. “I really didn’t want to be a teacher,” said Avila. “I actually wanted to be a sportswriter. I wanted to go to sporting events and report on scores and good plays and stuff like that.”    

According to Avila, not everyone just wakes up and decides to become a teacher. It takes self-growth and a lot of decision making. Also, every teacher has different reasons for becoming a teacher such as the individual likes working with kids, is helpful, comes from a family teaching background, etc. The reasons are endless. 

Avila said, “My mom would say that I like helping people, but also that I like telling people what to do…. So it kinda started as a joke of like, ‘Ya know you could get like, paid to tell people what to do.’ And I was like, ‘Eee, I kinda like that.’”  

“Just the idea of helping people, a lot of stuff comes really easily to me; like, I don’t have to think very hard, it’s not difficult for me to share that gift with other people.” Avila got some of her inspiration from her mother. 

Becoming a teacher must be interesting and exciting because you never know what to expect when dealing with children. Also, there are good aspects to becoming a teacher. “The kids,” said Avila, “I just think kids are cool and at the end of the day just want somebody to recognize them or reward them trying, even if it’s not their best effort.” 

As well as good, there are always the dislikes and downfalls of becoming a teacher. The grass is always greener on the other side, there are just some things that go on behind the scenes that students don’t think about. Avila noted, “The paperwork, progress reports, grades. It’s a lot, and sometimes it takes away from my creative ideas, but it’s all part of the job.”  

As Avila said, the personal side of teaching is very important. “I feel like if you genuinely care, it can be rewarding, but the downfall is it could be heart breaking. Like getting to know kids and having them share stories with you; if you’re somebody who has empathy and feels for people, you really can have your heart broken by kids who share sad stories or are struggling with personal problems or as some of our teachers have experienced, kids who have passed away…. You have to process that.” But along with any other job, there’s going to be positive and negative aspects of the job. 

According to Avila, the kids are what she likes most about teaching. “I just feel like I have learned that as long as you’re fair and consistent with kids they will give you the same back. And you just get to know so many different people and learn from them. I’ve probably learned more from my students in 12 years than they’ve learned from me about being humble, fair, and respectful.”